World No.1 Neil Robertson overcame a minor hiccup to register a commanding 4-1 victory over Noppon Saengkham and reach the second round of the £300,000 Indian Open snooker here on Monday.
Robertson displayed his class and form to post three century breaks in his one-sided contest against the Thai. The Aussie potted fluently to take the first two frames in no time before Saengkham, ranked 113th in the world, sprung a surprise and reduced the margin in the third.
Saengkham, trailing 28-54, made the most of a chance to clear the table at one go, and garner a break of 27 points for a solitary point win.
Robertson, however, shrugged off the scare to extend his lead to 3-1 with a couple of 50-plus breaks. The Aussie scored another century break in the next frame to seal the fate of the match.
“It is great to start with such a win. My opponent had really done well to make it 2-1. It was easy to lose momentum from there, but I refocused and played well,” said Robertson.
Promising cueist Shivam Arora emerged the best among the five Indian wildcards, who crashed out in the first half of the day. The sixth wildcard, Dharmender Lilly, had already advanced to the first round after getting a walkover.
Arora gave World No.49 Anthony McGill a run for his money before going down 4-3. Arora banked on some good breaks to erase a two-frame deficit. McGill took a 3-2 lead, but Arora fought back to draw parity again before losing in the decider.
Seasoned cueist Manan Chandra gave a good account of his skills and understanding of the game despite a 4-1 loss to Robbie Willaims. The local player had a fine start as he collected a break of 41 points to stay 49-0 ahead in the first frame. He, however, lost grip over the proceedings to spoil the good beginning and lost 69-56.
Williams potted effortlessly to pocket three frames in a row. Chandra seized on a moment as Williams conceded crucial 20 points on ‘foul and a miss’ while trying to get out of a difficult situation in the fourth. Chandra won it 107-32 and kept his hopes alive.
Nevertheless, Williams managed the table well to thwart any attempt of comeback from Chandra.
“I lost the first frame from a winning position and that changed the momentum. I missed a few chances and he played an all-round game,” said Chandra. The Indian, who had played in a professional event almost 10 years ago, said he felt a little out of place while playing his long shots and cut shots on the superfine surface of the tables.
The results: Wildcard round: Rod Lawler bt Kamal Chawla 4-1 [58-51, 79-36, 54-71, 70-40, 70-31]; Jeff Cundy bt Sandeep Gulati 4-0 [78(52)-14, 62-57, 85(57)-0, 89(88)-1]; Anthony McGill bt Shivam Arora 4-3 [58-57, 78-38, 45-85, 53(53)-67(54), 77-14, 24-75, 81-6]; Robbie Williams bt Manan Chandra 4-1 [69-56, 77-31, 70(70)-1, 32-107, 65-40]; Paul Davidson bt Faisal Khan 4-1 [55-34, 38-72, 81(76)-49, 61-16, 58-5].
First round: Neil Robertson bt Noppon Saengkham 4-1 [107(103)-0, 104(103)-14, 54-55, 122(55, 67)-1, 124(103)-1]; Mark Joyce bt Sean O’Sullivan 4-0 [71-44, 109(63)-21, 92(55)-21, 123(114)-0]; Dechawat Poomjaeng bt Ryan Day 4-2 [108-6, 78-15, 10-73, 0-79, 90(52)-0, 75(58)-6].